Chapter 1:3-9 (ESV) - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Question to consider: In the midst of our suffering, in what should we rejoice according to Peter?
The type of suffering that Peter describes throughout this letter is that which they were experiencing for merely being Christians and faithfully proclaiming the gospel. Jesus said in Matthew 10:22, “You will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
Most people think that suffering is a punishment from God so when they experience it, they start to think that maybe they are doing something wrong. This still occurs today. People will proclaim faith because they’ve been told that if they turn their lives over to Jesus, they will experience tremendous blessing. There are plenty of popular televangelists who push this message to get people into their churches and especially to get people to give them money. Once the person faces the hatred that Jesus describes, he or she thinks they’ve been sold a bill of goods and abandon their faith.
Peter expresses the same truth that Jesus did, pointing out that God will use our suffering for Christ to test our faith which is more precious than gold since even gold perishes. True faith, like our heavenly inheritance, does not perish, and in the midst of our suffering, we can find joy in the fact that one day it will all be over, and we will experience eternal blessing with the saviour of our souls.
Jesus told Thomas in John 20, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Peter is addressing the first generation of those who love Christ without having seen Him. Even though we haven’t seen Jesus, we are filled with an inexpressible joy in knowing Him. How awesome will it be when we do get to see Him, and our joy will be complete?
Lord of our hearts, thank you for giving us salvation and a blessed hope for our future in Christ. Help us to focus on the world to come every time we are put to shame for proclaiming the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We lift up those who have shown hatred toward us for knowing Christ that they may one day love Him as much as we do. Amen.